Natural and unnatural disasters are becoming so frequent these days – floods, earthquakes, fires, attacks – that we are being advised to keep a ‘go bag’ and ‘emergency bin’ ready in case one has to either flee or stay trapped for a while. The go bag would have your vital documents, medicines, water, flashlight, phone charger, facemasks, money and extra spectacles. The emergency or ‘stay’ bin is in case you get trapped and have to stay put without help for several days; it will be stocked with dry rations, water, power bank, first aid kit, whistle and list of phone numbers to contact if someone finds you.Once you’ve organised your go bag and stay bin, you will feel more secure and prepared in the event of an emergency. These measures relate to physical preparedness, to help you survive till help arrives, in case of a sudden disaster.Just as our body needs to be taken good care of, the mind, too, requires care and attention. The first reaction in an emergency is to feel panic, fear and anger. Negative thoughts crowd the mind and your self-esteem, will power and confidence take a beating. Therefore, along with physical preparedness, it is a good idea to fortify one’s mind in order to enable it to deal ably with emotional challenges posed by unexpected disaster.Psychotherapist Nicole Urdang writes of the importance of emotional preparedness, and offers a few tips for emotional first-aid and says whatever kind of distress you are in right now, you need to tell yourself that it is bound to go away sooner or later. Therefore, to regain lost inner balance and return to one’s centre of being, should be given priority, just as we pay attention to appease our physical hunger and thirst.First pay attention to your breathing, and take slow, deep breaths, taking time to exhale, reminding yourself that this too, shall pass. Urdang says you should allow yourself to feel whatever you are going through instead of suppressing your feelings. Keep your faith, for you are capable of handling more than what you think you can. If you believe in prayer and/or meditation, this is a good time to do that.Try not to feel a victim but look at all the ways in which this could turn out to be a learning experience. Get good sleep, it will have a calming effect, and do not stay hungry. If you have access to your phone, you could call someone you feel comfortable talking with – a relative, friend or therapist.It is said that we make plans, but life’s uncertainties may not allow us to realize those plans. Sometimes we have to change course completely. In such cases, it is better to go with life’s flow than to fight the inevitable.Any traumatic experience will widen your perspective. Surviving and overcoming it is a great learning experience. Often, there is truth in the saying that ‘everything happens for the good’. Thinking on these lines will help reinforce positivity and make you emotionally stronger.Narayani Ganesh
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